We have been planting a vegetable garden in our backyard for the past twenty years. About 5 years ago we noticed that the neighbor’s trees had overgrown to the point where our little garden was not able to get enough sun to sustain tomatoes and such. This year we decided to plant a few tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini in a fresh patch of ground which would get more sun but still use the old garden area for the flowers that I love so much. After all, why waste a nice fenced in plot of land when you could be growing sunflowers. The veggies loved their new home and have exceeded our expectations. I have enough refrigerator pickles to last all winter. But my flowers struggled. The first seeds that I planted were eaten by birds, chipmunks and squirrels. Undaunted, I planted another round of seeds only to feed the birds once again. The third planting took root, sort of. A few plants made their way to the surface and half of them got munched as soon as they peeked a leaf above the dirt. Still they continued to grow. Then a few other plants appeared. Even though a few leaves were eaten, probably by groundhogs and rabbits, the plants continued to rise higher each day. I watched in amazement as the few tortured looking leafless stalks started to show some buds.
This has to be the strangest garden that I have ever had the privilege to tend. As the summer wore on, two things happened. The rabbits and groundhogs seemed content to eat other greens around the yard and leave the gardens alone. Even the weather has cooperated. Very mild temps with a nice mix of sun and rain. These plants with their munched up leaves wouldn’t have been able to stand the stress of a heatwave, drought or too much rain. I was glad that I had bought extra seeds and persevered with a second and even a third planting.
“Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly,
and whoever sows generously will reap generously”
2 Corinthians 9:6
I am so glad that I didn’t give up after the first planting. I didn’t sow sparingly but continued to pour more seeds, fertilizer and sweat into that soil. And now I can sit back and soak in the vibrant colors and watch hummingbirds, butterflies and bees benefit from my labor.
Give generously with all you do and watch for that generous harvest in all things.
“…he who sows in righteousness reaps a sure reward.”
God has not allowed you to toil in vain as Solomon would have us believe (Eccl. 1:3). Be patient and rest in the confidence of a loving God whose plans are higher than ours. Your reward may not be what you were expecting but it will be just what is needed and in the time that it is needed. My favorite sunflowers are little teddy bear sunflowers. I planted 4 packets of seeds but it seems that the bunnies are especially fond of them. Only one has survived, yet that one flower is so beautiful to my eyes.
“A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will come eternal life.”
It has been a difficult summer for my family. Major upheavals in my church has left us battered and bruised and searching for a new church home. But we have consistently asked God for guidance and now as we look back over the past two months, we can see His faithful Hand. We have found friends in unusual places and comfort in stranger’s prayers. We have tried to sow seeds of faith and found comfort in His overwhelming provisions each Sunday as we venture out on new roads. We went from tears of sorrow at what could have been to tears of joy, wonder and gratitude as we explore different houses of worship. The sowing had seemed so fragile, yet the harvest has been incredibly rich and it’s only getting started!
Thank you, to the God who is faithful even when we are not. To the God who receives what little we have and returns it tenfold even when we do not deserve it. Thank you to the God who loves me more than I can ever imagine. Though the sowing was so difficult, His harvest is abundant.